Curtis Zy-Keith Means, from Alabama, now holds the Guinness World Record for the most premature infant, having been born at 21 weeks and 1 day in July 2020.
Michelle “Chelly” Butler’s pregnancy was going well until July 4th of last year, when she was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. She was sent to the University of Alabama at Birmingham from her local hospital (UAB).
Curtis was born on July 5 at roughly 1 p.m., at a gestational age of 21 weeks and 1 day (148 days). Curtis was supposed to be born on November 11th. He was born nearly 19 weeks early. At the moment of his birth, he weighed only 420 grams.
“The medical staff told me that they don’t normally keep babies at that age. It was very stressful,” Chelly told Guinness World Records.
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Curtis’ amazing birth storey is juxtaposed with the terrible tragedy of his twin sister, C’Asya Means, who did not respond to treatment. She died the day after she was born.
Dr. Brian Sims, a paediatrics professor at UAB Hospital, said, “According to statistics, newborns of this age are unlikely to live. ‘Can we give my babies a chance?’ was Mum’s question to me.”
“We’d never been able to get a baby that early into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit before, so [Curtis] was truly unique. We were in a new area, to say the least, ” he added.
He went on to say, “He initially responded to oxygen by increasing his heart rate and increasing his numbers. He was providing us with a lot of good feedback, indicating that he wanted to live.”
Curtis was kept alive by breathing support and medication for his heart and lungs. Over the next three weeks, doctors were able to lower the amount of support. He was removed from the ventilator when he was about three months old.
Curtis was permitted to go home on April 6 this year after spending 275 days at the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU).
Curtis became the most premature infant to live when he turned one on July 5.
Curtis was born exactly one month after the previous record holder, Wisconsin’s Richard Hutchinson, who was born on June 5, 2020, at a gestational age of 21 weeks 2 days.